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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 7 Hansard (20 June) . . Page.. 2157 ..

Mr Smyth: Rubbery.

MR STEFANIAK: Rubbery, says my colleague the Deputy Chief Minister. Rubbery is probably a reasonable and simple summary of their figures. I think they are distinctly rubbery. Indeed, I think they have a fairly rubbery record in terms of their ability to handle finances.

I am not going to go through the plethora of initiatives which they say they will adopt which we have put into this budget, all of which will greatly assist the education of students in this territory, many of which will assist students at risk, and many of which will assist students who have disabilities or who are in need of assistance. I will leave that until tomorrow and the budget debate. I think it is hypocritical in the extreme of this opposition, whose track record in government was, at best, maybe to keep up with what they had spent the year before, but who also had a record of trying to cut education expenditure, to criticise this government who, despite the incredibly difficult financial situation we had in 1995, actually managed to increase expenditure each year.

Mr Berry or Mr Stanhope mentioned that the other states are spending more. Some of them are spending a lot of money, and so they should, Mr Speaker, because they need to catch up. They need to catch up with the very high standard we have. Indeed, it isn't only money. Standards, outputs, outcomes and things like that are terribly important. We do have an excellent system, and I think they degrade that by their spurious arguments today.

My colleague Mr Moore asked why on earth are they picking on the buses, this great initiative for families. Yes, it is a form of tax relief for many families. This families initiative is not in the education part; it is in Urban Services. It certainly will affect a lot of battling families. Like Mr Osborne, who mentioned a number of families who approached him, I have been approached by a number of families. I have been approached by a number of people who say, "Please don't step back on your promise. Keep doing it. It's very important to us."

I have heard of battling families who are spending $60 a month for kids to go to government colleges. It is money that is going to help a lot of battling families. I have had letters from people. Mr Smyth has had a letter from someone in his area saying that he has always voted Labor, but he will not any more as it is the first time he has got anything from government.

Mr Corbell: They always say that.

MR STEFANIAK: "They always say that," interjects Mr Corbell. Thank you, comrade. That's lovely. I am sure your former voter will really appreciate that.

This is also something that we promised. All right, we have not been able to deliver it until now, but now we are. Mr Berry or someone else mentioned the old perennial, Belconnen pool. If Paul Keating, Rosemary Follett and all those other people had not signed that competition policy thing in 1993, I do not think we would be discussing that, Mr Berry. So maybe that's another stuff-up. Certainly, there are a lot of people in the

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